We received some wonderful – and creative – submissions. Thanks to all who entered! Congratulations to the winners of the Write On! Online September Challenge – Getting to Know You.

1st Place:
Fiction: Elizabeth Beeson
Non-Fiction: Lillian Lewis
(Prize: A medium-length (or 21,000 word) one-reader iScript; the 1st Place stories are posted below)

2nd Place:
Fiction: Shelley Ginsburg
Non-Fiction: Samantha Goddard
(Prize: A copy of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino, compliments of The Writers Store)

3rd Place:
Fiction: Ginger Earle
Non-Fiction: JJ Ford
(Prize: Save the Cat!® by Blake Snyder (Fiction) and Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers by Brigitte A Thompson (Non-Fiction))

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THE SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE: GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Fiction Winner – Elizabeth Beeson

Each time his hand closes over the cold metal handle of the small cart, the bracing touch reminds him that his life is no longer what it was. The cool, smooth steel feels strange against his palm, so used to years of gripping the rough wood of his carpentry tools. While his adult children build their shining professional careers in this new land, the old grandfather slowly pulls the cart, delivering flyers door to door each week.

When he was young, he worked long, strenuous days without tiring. His back was straight and strong. His manner sure and confident. Now, he sits each morning tightening and loosening his fists, testing his grip over and over again. First the right hand, then the left. A movement he used to mindlessly perform thousands of times a week, he now sits and repeats, focusing and willing the muscles to move and to loosen before he can start his day.

As he arrives on the main level of his son’s big suburban house, his tiny grandchildren — twins – giggle and shriek as they careen around him. They ping-pong between his bent old legs and their mother’s shapely young ones. He smiles and uses his stiff, gnarled hands to gently shoo them away as he steps out to the front porch where bundles of paper have been delivered overnight. As a young man, the pretty village girls would try to catch his eye as he walked to work, swinging his tools, laughing with his friends. He was part of a noble tradition — a builder — from a family known for their generations of work. Now, he’s glad to have this job; a routine, a purpose, a reward, however small, to fill his week. But, often he feels invisible as he walks from house to house, pausing to place the flyers in each mail box and noticing more and more, three small, but sharp, words “No Flyers Please.”

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Non-Fiction Winner – Lillian Lewis, “Treasuring My Barista”

It’s 96 quicksteps from my front door to the Starbucks portal, and then on to a fast moving line to get my venti. I usually observe the many Starbucks employees, all busy with their various tasks, and how the dance is such that they seemingly have the exact number of workers to execute customer orders efficiently– like pieces to a puzzle.

When I mention this to Tiffany, who is across the table from me, her beacon-like gap toothed smile appears, because she’s glad I noticed that. I learn from her that each employee is a barista (think coffee artist). “No matter what you see us doing, working the register, refilling the napkin dispensers or whatever — we’ve been trained – and receive ongoing training – so that we all know where the beans grow, the different grinds, and can prepare all of the beverages,” she said in her soft voice. Additionally, they have intimate knowledge of all products sold in their store.

Tiffany, who is 25 years old and lives in the Bronx with her long time fiancee, has a GED and has been with the coffee giant for two years. She loves the business and the interaction it provides with people helps overcome her shyness. She’s friendly, a hard worker and will go to the wall to please her customers, but her patience can be tried. She told me of one regular customer who insisted on getting a particular pastry for free, which wasn’t part of the pastry promotion and not Tiffany’s to give. After explaining this over and over and getting nowhere, Tiffany finally said to the lady, “Have a nice day” thereby politely but firmly ending the dispute.

In her spare time Tiffany enjoys drawing and has an eye for architecture, about which she is passionate. She also journals. But the bottom line is that her heart is set on becoming a store manager, and with her dedication, hard work and commitment, I have no doubt she’ll make a great one!

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Thanks again to all who entered. Remember, the deadline for The Write On! Online – October Challenge: Boo! Write in a Genre that Scares You is October 31st. Also check Write On! Online on November 1st for information on The November Challenge!

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